For anyone who doesn’t view life as disposable, the concept of hunting is very difficult to understand.
There are several reasons hunting takes place; population control, pleasure, or to protect a specific industry. Often these reasons overlap one another, or are used as an excuse. However, none of these reasons are justified; viewing wild animals as overpopulated ignores the fact that humans are consistently encroaching on and degrading their habitats.
Hunting offers a good example of the interconnectivity of animal abuse. Badgers are killed to ‘protect’ dairy cows, foxes are killed to ‘protect’ egg laying hens, and birds of prey are killed to ‘protect’ game birds. It is cruelty to protect cruelty.
Hunting with hounds was banned in the UK in 2004, however the law has been almost completely ignored. In 2020, webinars were leaked which revealed hunt masters discussing how they continue to hunt wildlife under the pretence of following artificial scents.
Hunts operates in three parts; the hunt master, the field, and the support.
The hunt master usually wears a red jacket, and is in control of the hounds. They use a whip, a horn, and voice calls to encourage the dogs to pick up a scent, follow it, or to call them back. They are generally supported by a ‘whipper-in’, who acts as their second in command.
The field (or riders) comprises of everyone who follows the hunt on horseback. Unlike the master and the whippers in, they are not in control of the hounds—though they may help if called upon—and they generally just follow the master and the hounds, with little knowledge of what is happening.
The support is made up of everyone else who follows the hunt, usually in vehicles, but sometimes on foot. Some of them have specific jobs, such as the ‘terrier men’ who carry terriers in metal boxes on their quad bikes. If a fox tries to hide underground, they send the dog down after it, and use the sounds of the animals fighting to locate the fox and dig it out. The hunt master generally plans where he is likely to locate a fox, and will instruct the support to line up along the edge of a field where he intends to flush the fox out, so that they can watch a ritualistic—and illegal—piece of countryside theatre, as the fox runs past them, pursued by the hounds, the redcoats, and the riders.
There have been many myths about hunting over the years, such as it being to control fox numbers. In fact, it is not uncommon for hunts to create ‘artificial earths’—perfect homes for foxes—which encourage them to breed in a certain area so that there are more to hunt. The stage managed theatrics of the whole affair make it clear that this is about nothing more than ‘entertainment’, and tradition.
Organised shooting is a very profitable industry. ‘Game birds’ such as pheasants and partridges are often raised in intensive farms, before delivered to shooting estates and put into wooden runs. These runs are like giant rabbit enclosures, and can often be seen in wheat fields. With a constant supply of food, water, and shelter, the birds become dependant on the ‘game keepers’. They are then moved to larger pens in small areas of woodland, which are open at the top so the birds can fly up to roost, but they are unlikely to leave due to the food and water in the pen. Woodland and fields surrounding pheasant pens are usually full of blue butts full of grain, so that any birds which do leave the pen (if the food has become wet, or the fences damaged etc…) stay in the vicinity.
The shooting season begins in September, when the birds are released from their pens, and chased through the woodlands by ‘beaters’. As they emerge out of the trees, the birds—who can barely fly, and are entirely domesticated—attempt to take the sky, where they are shot down by hunters who have paid huge sums of money for the ‘pleasure’. In most cases, the majority of the shot birds are dumped into mass graves and abandoned.
In order to protect the birds, who are deliberately bred and raised to be as helpless as possible, game keepers regularly kill any predators in the area of the pens. This includes foxes, stoats, owls, buzzards, and much more. Even squirrels—who may eat the birds’ grain—are trapped and killed.
The badger cull is one of the many horrific side effects of the UK dairy industry. Despite swathes of evidence to the contrary (including data from the culls themselves), it has been decided by farmers that the main source of TB (tuberculosis) in cow herds is from badgers.
Whilst it is perfectly possible to vaccinate badgers to prevent even the possibility of this being an issue, and it is also possible to keep cows in more hygienic conditions, or even (ideally) scrap the dairy industry altogether, the decision was instead taken to cull Britains beloved badgers.
Well over 100,000 badgers have so far been killed in what the Guardian has described as a ‘discredited cull’. They are trapped in small cages (which can often be seen on the edge of fields in cull zones, with peanuts used as bait). When the traps are checked, any badgers found are shot in the head.
During the hunting season (Autumn-Spring) WAR regularly take part in hunt sabotage, and we are always looking for new recruits, so contact us if you’d like to find out more or join us.
If you spot any suspicious hunting activity, use our tip-off hotline (07443148426) to let us know straight away; there may be sabs in the area who can take action.
Print off our posters and stickers to help spread the message.
HUNT SABS POSTER
This poster comes in both A4 (standard UK printer paper) and A3 (twice the size of A4).
BADGER CULL STICKERS
These stickers are designed to be printed onto AVERY J8166 sheets (6 stickers per sheet), which can be widely purchased.
Download the template using the link below, and print them off at home.
Please make sure you ask permission before applying these stickers to any item that is not yours.